WASHINGTON (April 2, 2010)—The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have joined to issue the first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards in the U.S., a move they say will also significantly increase the fuel economy of all passenger vehicles and light trucks sold in the U.S.
Beginning with 2012 year models, auto makers must improve both fleet-wide fuel economy and reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions by about 5 percent every year, DOT and EPA said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require an industry-wide fuel economy average of 34.1 mpg by model year 2016.
In the same model year, EPA will require a combined average vehicle emission level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. The EPA standard is equivalent to 35.5 mpg fuel economy if all reductions come from fuel economy improvements, the agency said.
DOT and EPA estimate the new rules will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 960 million metric tons over the lifetimes of the vehicles being regulated, which is roughly equivalent to taking 50 million cars and light trucks off the road by 2030.
During the same time period, the new rules will conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil and save buyers of model year 2016 vehicles an average of $3,000 per vehicle, the agencies said.
The new final rules are the culmination of the initiative President Obama announced in May 2009, supported by auto makers, the United Auto Workers, state governments and environmentalists.